Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 245 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Oct 2017

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 01/11/2024

Project Features

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Community Profile

This project is a part of our shared program with Western Water and Sanitation Forum (WEWASAFO). Our team is pleased to directly share the below report (edited for clarity, as needed).

Welcome to the Community

In Bukhakunga Community, women wake up early to fetch water to help prepare their children for school. The remainder of this water is used for domestic chores. When finished cleaning, women join their husbands on their farms. This being the season for planting crops, they are now preparing the land for maize, beans and other vegetables. When harvested, some of the crops are sold to earn a living. This helps them feed, clothe and pay educational fees for their children.

Water Situation

The 245 people living in Bukhakunga rely on Indiatsi Omukitsa Spring. Its water is used to meet all of their needs, such as drinking, cooking, cleaning, and watering animals. The spring is open to contamination from human and animal activity and waste that's washed into the water during rains.

During the dry season, the number of people relying on this spring increases because many other springs dry up. The overcrowding during these months has really been a challenge to community members. Even more so, the dirty water has caused locals to constantly fight waterborne sicknesses like typhoid, cholera, and diarrhea.

Sanitation Situation

Less than a quarter of households located around the spring have a pit latrine! They are all in bad condition, and many families share them. The floors are made of wooden logs which cannot be cleaned and are rotting with age. This poses danger to both young and old users, who struggle to balance. Many other locals opt to avoid these conditions entirely, and instead seek the privacy of bushes.

Even less families have hand-washing stations or other helpful tools like dish racks and clotheslines.

Plans: Hygiene and Sanitation Training

Community members will attend hygiene and sanitation training for at least two days. This training will ensure participants are no longer ignorant about healthy practices and their importance. The facilitator plans to use PHAST (Participatory Hygiene and Sanitation Transformation), CLTS (Community-Led Total Sanitation), ABCD (Asset-Based Community Development), group discussions, handouts, and demonstrations at the spring.

Training will also result in the formation of a committee that will oversee operations and maintenance at the spring. They will enforce proper behavior around the spring and delegate tasks that will help preserve the site, such as building a fence and digging proper drainage.

Plans: Sanitation Platforms

On the final day of training, participants will select five families that should benefit from new latrines.

Training will also inform the community and selected families on what they need to contribute to make this project a success. They must mobilize locally available materials, such as bricks, clean sand, hardcore, and ballast. The five families must prepare by sinking a pit for the sanitation platforms to be placed over. All community members must work together to make sure that accommodations and food are always provided for the work teams.

Plans: Spring Protection

Fetching water is predominantly a female role, done by both women and young girls. Protecting the spring and offering training and support will therefore help empower the female members of the community by giving them more time and efforts to engage and invest in income-generating activities.

Protecting the spring will ensure that its water is safe, adequate and secure. Construction will keep surface runoff and other contaminants out of the water. "This is an answered prayer to us because it is 40 years now we have bean drinking this water which is not safe and clean," said Alice, a sanitation and hygiene teacher who lives in Bukhakunga.

Project Updates

July, 2020: COVID-19 Prevention Training Update at Bukhakunga Community, Indiatsi Omukitsa Spring

Our teams are working on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Join us in our fight against the virus while maintaining access to clean, reliable water.

Trainer Shigali reviews the prevention reminders chart

We are carrying out awareness and prevention trainings on the virus in every community we serve. Very often, our teams are the first (and only) to bring news and information of the virus to rural communities like Bukhakunga, Kenya.

We trained more than 12 people on the symptoms, transmission routes, and prevention of COVID-19. Due to public gathering concerns, we worked with trusted community leaders to gather a select group of community members who would then relay the information learned to the rest of their family and friends.

A boy shows his informational pamphlet on COVID-19 received at training

We covered essential hygiene lessons:

- Demonstrations on how to build a simple handwashing station

- Proper handwashing technique

- The importance of using soap and clean water for handwashing

- Cleaning and disinfecting commonly touched surfaces including at the water point.

Handwashing session

We covered COVID-19-specific guidance in line with national and international standards:

- Information on the symptoms and transmission routes of COVID-19

- What social distancing is and how to practice it

- How to cough into an elbow

- Alternative ways to greet people without handshakes, fist bumps, etc.

- How to make and properly wear a facemask.

Community member Becky demonstrates good handwashign technique

During training, we installed a new handwashing station with soap near the community’s water point, along with a sign with reminders of what we covered.

Homemade mask tutorial

Due to the rampant spread of misinformation about COVID-19, we also dedicated time to a question and answer session to help debunk rumors about the disease and provide extra information where needed.

Everyone practices the 10 steps of handwashing

"The community members were elated by the organization’s concern for them. Having field officers just dedicate time and energy to travel to their village in order to teach them how to prevent the spread of Coronavirus was humbling. They promised to wash their hands frequently, they also promised to make and wear face masks while in public. They also promised to maintain social distance in order to avoid spreading Coronavirus," recalled Trainer Shigali.

Community members pose with their COVID-19 informational pamphlets after training

We continue to stay in touch with this community as the pandemic progresses. We want to ensure their water point remains functional and their community stays informed about the virus.

Practicing the handwashing steps

Water access, sanitation, and hygiene are at the crux of disease prevention. You can directly support our work on the frontlines of COVID-19 prevention in all of the communities we serve while maintaining their access to safe, clean, and reliable water.

October, 2018: A Year Later: Bukhakunga Community

A year ago, your generous donation enabled us to protect Indiatsi Omukitsa Spring for Bukhakunga Community in Kenya. The contributions of incredible monthly donors and others giving directly to The Water Promise allow our local teams to visit project sites throughout the year, strengthening relationships with communities and evaluating the water project over time. These consistent visits allow us to learn vital lessons and hear amazing stories. Read more...

October, 2017: Bukhakunga Community Project Complete

Indiatsi Omukitsa Spring in Bukhakunga Community, Kenya is now a protected, clean source of water thanks to your donation. The spring is protected from contamination, five sanitation platforms have been provided for the community, and training has been given in sanitation and hygiene. Imagine the changes that all of these resources are going to bring for these residents! You made it happen!  Now, want to do a bit more? Join our team of monthly donors and help us maintain this spring protection and many other projects.

We just updated the project page with the latest pictures, so make sure to check them out! And please enjoy the rest of the report from our partner in Kenya:

Project Result: New Knowledge

Hygiene and sanitation training was organized between our staff and the recently elected chairwoman of the water user committee. This committee was established to oversee the project from start to finish, and to manage and maintain the spring protection so that it can serve the community for years to come. Chairwoman Felestus also worked with community members to set the most convenient dates for training.

Training was held on the land of Mr. Indiatsi Omukitsa himself, since he lives closest to the spring. Attendance was good, with many women sacrificing time working on their farms or kitchen gardens to gather together and learn.

2 kenya4726 training

We were happy that a couple men even took the time to attend! Women have always been viewed as most responsible for hygiene and sanitation.

Training topics included but were not limited to leadership and governance; operation and maintenance of the spring; healthcare; family planning; immunizations; the spread of disease and prevention. We also covered water treatment methods, environmental hygiene, and hygiene promotion. The community should refrain from washing clothes, watering animals, farming with fertilizers, and open defecation in the vicinity.

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The teaching participants using illustrations of good and bad hygiene practices.

The women particularly enjoyed the demonstration and practice on the 10 steps of hand-washing. We also taught them how to make their own tippy-taps (hand-washing stations) to place outside of their latrines.

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After this hand-washing session, we noticed a quick response with women installing stations in all of their homes. They were also quick to have their husbands build new dish racks and suspend clotheslines.

Project Result: Sanitation Platforms

All five sanitation platforms have been installed and are ready for use. These five families are happy about this milestone and are optimistic that there will be much less open defecation. People without proper latrines would often use the privacy of bushes, but now have a private place of their own. It is expected that proper use of latrine facilities provided by the sanitation platforms will go a long way in reducing environmental pollution here. We are continuing to encourage families to finish building walls and roofs over their new latrine floors.

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The artisan casting a sanitation platform.

Project Result: Spring Protection

Community members provided all locally available construction materials, e.g bricks, wheelbarrows of clean sand, wheelbarrows of ballast, fencing poles and hard core (crushed rock and gravel). This was one of the most challenging parts of this spring protection, since the roads to the community are very poor. The community had hired a truck to deliver sand, but it couldn't get through the muddy roads for a couple of days. Accommodation and food for the artisan were provided, and a few people even volunteered their time and strength to help the artisan with manual labor.

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A local man wheeling sand to the construction site.

The spring area was excavated to create space for setting the foundation of polythene, wire mesh and concrete. After the base had been set, both wing walls and the head wall were set in place using brickwork. The discharge pipe was fixed low in place through the head wall to direct the water from the reservoir to the drawing area.

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The artisan building the foundation of the spring protection catchment area.

As the wing walls and head wall were curing, the stairs were set and the tiles were fixed directly below the discharge pipe. This reduces the erosive force of the falling water and beautifies the spring. The process of plastering the head wall and wing walls on both sides reinforces the brickwork and prevents water from the reservoir from seeping through the walls and allows pressure to build in the collection box to push water up through the discharge pipe.  Lastly, the base of the spring was plastered and the collection box was cleaned. The source area was filled up with clean hardcore and covered with a polythene membrane to eliminate any potential sources of contamination. Finally, grass was planted and cutoff drains dug to direct surface water away from the spring box.

14 kenya4726 clean water

This process has transformed Indiatsi Omukitsa Spring into a clean water source. People gathered to celebrate this transformation and fetch their first buckets of clean water. Mrs. Beatrice Muhati said, "Since our spring is now protected, our health will now improve because we are drinking clean and safe water!" Mr. Peter Muserah was there too, and he might be motivated enough to help his wife fetch the clean water they need. He was impressed with the ease of access to such great quality water. He said, "I never imagined that one day, we as a community can access clean and safe drinking water!"

Project Photos

Project Type

Springs are water sources that come from deep underground, where the water is filtered through natural layers until it is clean enough to drink. Once the water pushes through the surface of the Earth, however, outside elements like waste and runoff can contaminate the water quickly. We protect spring sources from contamination with a simple waterproof cement structure surrounding layers of clay, stone, and soil. This construction channels the spring’s water through a discharge pipe, making water collection easier, faster, and cleaner. Each spring protection also includes a chlorine dispenser at the waterpoint so community members can be assured that the water they are drinking is entirely safe. Learn more here!

A Year Later: Bukhakunga Community

October, 2018

Spring users used to have to scoop dirty water from the natural spring. Now, they can fill their jerrycans directly from the pipe with clean and safe drinking water.

Keeping The Water Promise

There's an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water in Bukhakunga Community 2.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Bukhakunga Community 2 maintain access to safe, reliable water. Together, they keep The Water Promise.

We’re confident you'll love joining this world-changing group committed to sustainability!

A year ago, your generous donation enabled us to protect Indiatsi Omukitsa Spring for Bukhakunga Community in Kenya. The contributions of incredible monthly donors and others giving directly to The Water Promise allow our local teams to visit project sites throughout the year, strengthening relationships with communities and evaluating the water project over time. These consistent visits allow us to learn vital lessons and hear amazing stories – and we’re excited to share this one from Janet Kayi with you.

Upon our arrival in Bukhakunga, we were met with the happy faces of women and children carrying water from the spring; their smiles showing just how grateful they are to access clean and safe drinking water.

"We no longer have to wait for the water to settle before fetching it. The water used to get dirty because we were fetching it by scooping, using a bowl and pouring the water into a jerrycan," Immah Luvanga explained.

"We now enjoy fetching through the pipe that is not open to contamination."

Immah Luvanga at the spring

We quickly noticed that good hygiene is being practiced, starting with family homes that are very clean. Bushes are cleared around the home and all the waste is carried to the compost pit. The tippy tap handwashing stations are placed at a strategic place near the pit latrines, and family members washing their hands after visiting the toilet.

"After we were trained in hygiene and sanitation, our compound is clean since we now clear the bushes around and collect the rubbish to the compost pit," Immah said.

Protection of this spring is only one step along the journey toward sustainable access to clean water. The Water Project is committed to consistent monitoring of each water source. Our monitoring and evaluation program, made possible by donors like you, allows us to maintain our relationships with communities by visiting up to 4 times each year to ensure that the water points are safe and reliable.

This is just one of the many ways that we monitor projects and communicate with you. Additionally, you can always check the functionality status and our project map to see how all of our water points are performing, based on our consistent monitoring data.

One project is just a drop in the bucket towards ending the global water crisis, but the ripple effects of this project are truly astounding. This spring in Bukhakunga is changing many lives.

This project has greatly improved lives in Kenya, and it is evident when you visit the community members in their homes. You will definitely see clean compounds, clotheslines, dish racks, and people who have access to clean and safe drinking water.

This is only possible because of the web of support and trust built between The Water Project, our local teams, the community, and you. We are excited to stay in touch with this community and support their journey with safe water.

Read more about The Water Promise and how you can help.

Navigating through intense dry spells, performing preventative maintenance, conducting quality repairs when needed and continuing to assist community leaders to manage water points are all normal parts of keeping projects sustainable. The Water Promise community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Bukhakunga Community 2 maintain access to safe, reliable water.

We’d love for you to join this world-changing group committed to sustainability.

The most impactful way to continue your support of Bukhakunga Community 2 – and hundreds of other places just like this – is by joining our community of monthly givers.

Your monthly giving will help provide clean water, every month... keeping The Water Promise.


Project Sponsor - Yakima Foursquare Church